Union global survey reveals the effects of Covid-19 on content consumption habits and attitudes to advertising

Union, a joint venture between 5 leading EMEA video technology providers, has today unveiled the results of a vital new consumer survey to help understand consumption patterns and attitudes towards advertising across a diverse range of EMEA markets.

As the global crisis continues to evolve, communities, industries and businesses are confronted with its impact and side effects. In response Union has launched a tracking survey across France, GCC (Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar), Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Romania, Spain, Sweden and UK to better understanding local market dynamics and help augment the decision-making of advertisers and publishers doing business in and across the EMEA region.

The survey was carried out between April and early May 2020 when most participants were in lockdown and provided unique and actionable insights for advertisers across a broad range of sectors.

The study explores how consumers’ content consumption habits and trust levels towards media have changed during the crisis. Reading the News and browsing Social Media becomes the new prime time as consumers look for advice and entertainment during these trouble times.  One key takeaway is that  9 out of 10 markets trust social media much less than news with France being the only nation that seems to record a noteworthy level of trust in Social Media (53% vs 47% for News Media).  Baby boomers from the UK showed the highest levels of trust of News publishers at just over 90%

The study goes on to ask consumers how they think brands should shape their advertising strategy in this period and discovers that 9 in 10 consumers in almost all markets want brands to continue advertising. Two of the markets hit the hardest by Covid-19, Italy (93%) and Spain (92%), are leading the way. However most consumers expect brands to adjust their messaging to the changing circumstances and to be especially sensitive to the tone and sentiment of an article when placing advertising in Covid-19 news stories. Interestingly it’s the Italians (22%) and Spanish(18%) again who show the highest rate of favourable attitude towards brands that advertise in articles bearing COVID-19 news, while in general it was Romanians (75%) followed by Brits (71%) and Swedes (69%) who to have the most relaxed attitude towards advertising in a COVID-19 context.

The study also highlights that while local market attitudes are important to understand, consumers’ acceptance of advertising in an article about the virus also varies significantly by sector with CPG , Pharma,  Telcos and Government perhaps understandably being more acceptable and again it’s clear that a one size fits all approach clearly isn’t good enough.

As brands start planning for the next stage on our global road to recovery its clear that while results show on the one hand, how unanimously consumers feel in answering some of these questions and clearly indicate they want brands to continue to advertise through the crisis , on the other hand it’s obvious that culture, age or unfolding local conditions leads to notable divergence.

Steven Filler, MD, Union says: “Local Context Matters now more than ever.  We know that attitudes towards brand suitability are evolving swiftly and we will continue to monitor the effects at the local level in every market we cover in the EMEA region, using this tracking research combined with the ongoing feedback from our 350 people in 35 cities and the daily interaction with thousands of local publishers with whom we collaborate closely.”

The full study can be downloaded from here

Union is a joint venture between 5 leading EMEA video technology providers that enables global brands to activate video campaigns on the sites that really matter to their local audiences.

Union provides video content, monetisation and technology to thousands of local market websites across the EMEA region. These strategic partnerships generate a unique blend of pre-roll and outstream video formats for advertisers to target. This is achieved using a powerful combination of programmatic and contextual targeting to reach nearly 300 million users on relevant, premium, brand safe publishers.

Union’s publisher partners include global brands such as Marie Claire, Elle, Vanity Fair and CNN, as well as leading local publishers such as Aller Media, Axel Springer , Stryia, Libero and Funke Media Group.

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